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Nature as an organic whole, as a body each of whose
members. sympathizes with the rest, changing, it is true,
from ages to ages, but without one real break of continuity,
or a single interruption of the fixed relations of cause and

The system of things which we call Nature is, however,
too vast and various to be studied first—hand by any single
mind. As knowledge extends there is always a tendency
to subdivide the field of investigation, its various parts be-
ing taken up by different individuals, and thus receiving a
greater amount of attention than could possibly be bestowed
on them if each investigator aimed at the mastery of the
whole. East, west, north, and south, the human mind
pushes its conquests ; but the centripetal form in which
knowledge, as a whole, advances, spreading ever wider on
all sides, is due in reality to the exertions of individuals,
each of whom directs his efforts, more or less, along a single
line. Accepting, in many respects, his culture from his
fellow-men, taking it from spoken words and from written
books, in some one direction, the student of Nature must
actually touch his work. He may otherwise be a dis-
tributor of knowledge, but not a creator, and fails to attain
that vitality of thought and correctness of judgment which
direct and habitual contact with natural truth can alone

One large department of the system of Nature which
forms the chief subject of my own studies; and to which it
is my duty to call your attention this evening, is that of
physics, or natural philos0phy. This term is large enough
to cover the study of Nature generally, but it is usually
restricted to a department which, perhaps, lies closer to
our perceptions than any other. It deals with the phe-
nomena and laws of light and heat—with the phenomena
and laws of magnetism and electricity—with those of
sound—with the pressures and. motions of liquids and

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